28 Tips to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint Today | Virgin Pure

By Bob Fear

28 Tips to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint Today | Virgin Pure

Our individual actions could affect the future of our planet for everyone. Knowing how to reduce your carbon footprint can help slow climate change. While the threat to our environment may seem huge, there are relatively small everyday changes we can make which will contribute to tackling the problem. If everyone made these changes then we could help limit the damage to our planet. In this article, we explain how to reduce your carbon footprint at home and at work.

What is your carbon footprint?

Your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases that your everyday actions produce, which contributes to global warming. Melting ice caps, rising sea levels, heatwaves, droughts, wildfires and extreme storms are all signs that the Earth’s climate is changing.

Why is it important to reduce your carbon footprint?

Reducing our carbon footprint is one way we can all help tackle climate change. The burning of fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil produces carbon dioxide, or CO2. These CO2 emissions trap heat in our atmosphere which then warms up our whole planet, hence the term greenhouse gas.

If you want to know how to reduce carbon footprint by lowering your impact on the environment, read on…

How to reduce your carbon footprint at home

The heating, lighting and appliances in our homes produce around 22% of the UK’s carbon emissions. Making the following simple changes at home will have a positive impact on the environment for everyone. See how you can help (and save a pretty penny).

1. Insulate your hot water tank

This will reduce the amount of heat it loses and make it more efficient and cheaper to run. A relatively cheap hot water cylinder jacket should be super simple to fit.

2. Insulate your hot water pipes

Your water will stay hotter for longer if you fit foam tubing around the pipes between your boiler and your hot water tank. This will reduce energy use and lower your carbon emissions.

3. Insulate your radiators

Affordable radiator reflector panels fit behind your radiators and reduce your energy consumption by reflecting heat back into the room instead of out through the external wall.

4. Insulate your loft

A quarter of the heat lost in an uninsulated home is lost through the roof. Decent loft insulation will mean big savings on your energy bills and a reduced carbon footprint

5. Insulate your walls

A third of the heat lost in an uninsulated home is lost through the walls. After the 1920s, most homes were built with cavity walls which can easily be insulated. Older homes may have solid walls which could mean more tricky and expensive insulation on the inside or outside of your house.

6. Insulate your floors

Wooden floorboards can be insulated from underneath, and concrete floors, if they haven’t been insulated when laid, can be insulated over the top. 

7. Draught-proof your house

Block gaps around your windows, doors and chimney that let warm air out and cold air in. Try sticky draught-proofing strips on door and window openings and silicone sealant around door and window edges. Brushes or flaps can be fitted to keyholes, letterboxes and gaps along the bottom of doors. Draught excluders can be fitted inside open chimneys when you’re not using your fire, and ensure you invest in a professionally-fitted chimney cap up top. Extractor fans, trickle vents, air bricks and wall vents can all keep your home well ventilated after you've sorted any pesky draughts.

Also interested in saving water (which also helps the planet)? Read our top 30 tips to save water at home.

8. Use a room thermostat and programmer

Central heating thermostats and timers regulate the amount of heat you generate by ensuring that you keep your house at a nice cosy temperature at the times you need it without unnecessarily overheating it. Help protect the environment a bit more by reducing your carbon footprint while saving a bit of extra money by turning the temperature down a notch.

9. Fit thermostatic radiator valves

TRVs will sense when a room is hotter or colder than the setting they’re on and adjust the flow of hot water accordingly, meaning you won’t be demanding as much heat when you don’t need it.

10. Replace your old boiler

When the time comes, upgrade your heating system where you can to reduce your carbon footprint at home. Air or ground source heat pumps are a great way to reduce your environmental impact by not burning fossil fuels and using low-carbon electricity. If you need to stick to gas or oil boilers for now, ensure you go for energy efficient condensing models.

11. Use energy efficient appliances

Energy labels on appliances either use the A to G scale (with A being the most efficient) or the A+++ to G scale (with A+++ being the most efficient). The bigger the appliance, the more energy it will use, so be sure to compare energy ratings on different models of the same size to find the most efficient one. This is especially important for fridges and freezers as these are left on 24 hours a day.

12. Avoid leaving appliances on standby

Even when on standby, your appliance or device will still use electricity. If anything’s not in use, turn it off to help reduce carbon your emissions.

13. Hang out your washing

Cut down your reliance on energy guzzling tumble driers by pegging your washing out when the weather’s ok.

14. Take shorter showers

Save energy, money and water by sticking a 4-minute shower timer to your wall.

15. Use low-energy light bulbs

Switch to energy-saving LED bulbs that use less leccy.

16. Don’t fill the kettle

To reduce your carbon footprint, only use the water you need when boiling your kettle. Even better, switch to a home water system which, as well as purifying your tap water, dispenses instant hot water when you need it and boosts it to boiling when you want a cuppa. In tests, the Virgin Pure Home Water System used less electricity than a kettle.

Find out how much time, energy and water you’re wasting when boiling your kettle by reading our article, next. 

How to reduce your carbon footprint at work

So, you now know how to reduce your carbon footprint at home, but how can you carry on this practice to reduce carbon footprint at work? Don’t worry, we’ve taken out all of the thinking for you by listing some ways below. Take a look.

1. Use public transport

Less cars on the road means less fuel burned, so travelling in numbers is always a good idea.

2. Car share

If public transport isn’t going to cut it, then check if any colleagues live nearby or en route to work so you can hop in one car and take turns to commute together.

3. Walk, run or cycle

Best of all - avoid burning fuel completely and just use your own body fuel to get to work! Doing this every single day might be a feat too far, so maybe try it just two or three times a week to reduce carbon footprint on your way to work.

4. Cut down on business flights

The age of hopping on a short or non-essential flight without a conscience may have gone so try the train for domestic routes. Try to ensure that overseas flights are essential and not just nice-to-have jollies.

5. Online meetings

Web conferencing has finally become a workplace habit. Saves time, fuss and travel. Remember to Zoom if you can.

6. Work from home

As long as it’s okay with the boss and you actually get some work done, occasionally working from home can save on time and energy.

7. Switch the lights off

If your workplace doesn’t have those clever sensor lights that switch off in an empty room, remember to flick that switch as you leave. Every little helps to reduce carbon emissions at work.

8. Switch your computer off

An empty workplace can still hum overnight with all manner of things left on standby and slowly sucking up electricity. Think of the number of computers in one huge office all quietly using energy when they don’t need to… Turning your computer off is one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint at the office.

9. Use a laptop

Laptops use far less energy than desktop computers, and you can carry them wherever you go making work life that much more flexible and eco-friendlier.

10. Go paperless

Surely, we don’t need rows and rows of filing cabinets stuffed with paper copies of things no-one reads? Do we really need to print everything off? Another straightforward way businesses can reduce their carbon footprint is to go paperless. Just make sure your workplace has a good data back-up system.

11. No more single-use cups and bottles

Use your own reusable coffee cup on the way to work in the morning and keep your reusable water bottle handy. We need to cut down on the amount of paper, card and plastic that has to go through a needless, energy-consuming production, waste or recycling process.

12. Install a water cooler

Dispense with the need for everyone to buy bottled water while at work and dispense pure, filtered water on the premises instead. The Virgin Pure water system for Work does away with those huge plastic bottles that some dispensers use and simply puts tap water through a thorough filtration process and dispenses it nice and chilled or beautifully boiling - so you can bin the kettle at work as well!

How does reducing my carbon footprint help me?

Reducing your carbon footprint ensures you are contributing towards the solution of the climate change problem. Not only will you be doing your bit towards a more positive future for the planet and everyone and everything living on it, you’ll also find that many of the measures you can take also mean a reduction in your day-to-day energy costs. Using less energy means lower energy bills. The more widespread zero carbon solutions become, the cheaper they will get. The more our electricity supply comes from renewable sources such as wind, solar, hydro and tidal, the more affordable it becomes. A zero-carbon future starts at home with all of us.

We’ve looked at how to reduce our carbon footprint at home and at work. The fight against climate change involves us all as individuals. Even though sometimes it might seem that using a low energy lightbulb or switching our TV off at the mains at night won’t make that much of a difference, if everyone around the whole world did the same, we would really start to address the climate emergency we’re all facing. So why not start by ditching your old kettle and switching to a work and/or home water system?You’ll be using less energy and less water over the course of the year and doing one small thing for the good of the planet and your purse.

If you’ve enjoyed our article on reducing carbon footprint, you’ll love our article on busting myths about water. Check it out, next!

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